As Ty Segall and Tim Presley of White Fence (amongst others, including Strange Boys and Darker My Love) release more and more music, inching closer and closer towards being labeled as full-on workaholics, a strange paradox has begun to emerge within their music evidenced on Hair, their recent collaboration LP: Segall and Presley are becoming more focused.
When word of these two San Francisco pals teaming up to release a psych-heavy full-length hit the blogs, many assumed Hair was going to be an opportunity for these two to let their freak flag fly, so to speak. Hair had the makings of a record that would allow Segall and Presley to let loose all the strange sonic trips they’d held back on. At only eight tracks long, it wasn’t outlandish to think that there would be a ten minute meandering jam in the mix. Instead, the pair prove that practice makes perfect. In releasing more music, the pair have learnt how to make efficient, condensed music that never sounds minimalist or rushed.
The impressive strides Segall made on his breakthough LP Goodbye Bread are followed up on Hair, augmented by Presley’s deft psychedelic touches. At times, Presley’s White Fence records have sounded harrowing if only for the sake of being daring. Sometimes, what appears to be strong songwriting also sounds as if it’s on the verge of collapsing. Yet in the spirit of true collaboration, these two provide each other with the necessary push on the swing to prove what they’re ultimately capable of.
Take “The Black Glove/Rag”, a harmless, swaying jam reminiscent of Lennon and Bolan a la Goodbye Bread. Toss in dashes of Presley’s ability to bring the subtleties of a song to the surface, and what you have is a crashing, two-part number that is just as catchy as it is engulfing. From the outset, “I Am Not A Game”, one of the stronger tracks on Hair, sounds like a classic White Fence jam. Yet Segall adds the right amount of harmony, and as on many other tracks on the record, it becomes impossible to decipher whether the song was a brainchild of Segall or Presley.
Sure, there are moments on Hair, particularly towards the end of tracks, when these two indulge in the kind of balls-to-the-wall jamming that would scare even the hippest of neighbours. Yet this is only the result of an obvious comfort attained between the two.
From the very early on, including opener “Time”, the pair walk the line between relaxed Sunday psych jams and groove-heavy rock with effortless ease. So they push the envelope a little, but not just to see what happens. But because they understand that where there is great songwriting, so much more is attainable. A serious peas-and-carrots dynamic.
“Crybaby” beats with an angelic and angry posture all the time, proving how well these two know each other personally and how harmonious a collaboration they can form, musically. On Hair Segall and Presley manage to occupy the spaces left vacant by each other, leaving listeners to wonder, with every continuous spin, where one of them ends and the other begins.